Il Peloton's Sergio Almeralla winning the marathon of the Ottawa Inline Skating Festival. (photo: Nathalie Larouche)
5:57 | Wrap Up: Morgane Echardour and Sergio Almeralla were the big winners in Ottawa today. Echardour won all three of the women's events — 10K, 42K and 21K — while Almeralla won two: the 42K and 21K.
In each race, Echardour positioned herself in the lead men's pack and rode the draft to big victories.
On the other hand, Almeralla used hard breakaways and strong sprints to overcome James Springer's early lead in the Triple Crown standings.
Today's results will elevate Echardour, James Springer and Peter Doucet in National Roller Cup standings. Skaters earned NROC points in the full marathon.
5:35 | Sergio again: Il Peloton's Sergio Almeralla makes it two for three today with a win in the final event: the 21K half marathon.
The Ottawa skater finished 16 seconds ahead of Cado Motus' Aaron Warr. Speed Skate World's Peter Doucet was third; Cado Motus' James Springer was fourth.
Almeralla's time was 35:17.
Morgane Echardour won the women's half marathon to complete the hat-trick. The 20-year-old Toronto skater won all three of today's women's races. She finished in 36:17.
The second-place woman was 13-year-old Bailim Xie.
3:31 | Interview with James Springer: The drama on the last lap started right after the final turnaround, five kilometers before the finish.
Peter Doucet tried to breakaway from the other two leaders, James Springer and Sergio Almeralla, both of whom have strong final sprints. But Springer and Almeralla wouldn't let him go, staying right behind him.
Then Almeralla took off and grabbed a commanding quarter-mile lead. "Are we just going to let him get tired out?" Springer, 18, of Harrisonburg, VA, asked Doucet.
"That's my plan," said Doucet, 31, of Mississauga, Ontario.
A few minutes later, it panned out. "We could see that Sergio was hurting so we picked up the pace and caught him."
From then on, Springer and Doucet traded leads at the front of the three-man breakaway.
About 300 meters from the finish, Doucet started his sprint. Springer followed behind him, and then Almeralla took off around them on the right side.
Almeralla took the lead, and Springer gave chase. But he stumbled and lost his momentum, and Almeralla continued on to win by a couple meters.
"I should have started my sprint a little earlier," Springer said. "But still, it was the most fun sprint I've ever had."
3:10 | Here they come: It's a sprint finish: Sergio Almeralla wins. James Springer is second; Peter Doucet, third.
Almeralla was a meter ahead of Springer; Doucet was about 30 meters back.
3:01 | Breakaway: Three skaters, Peter Doucet, Sergio Almeralla and James Springer, have broken away from the lead pack with less than five kilometers to go.
"It looks like the pack is going to let them go," says Kelly Springer.
2:52 | Bunching up: The leaders are now together in a large pack of about 15 skaters, says Cado Motus' Kelly Springer, who is at the turnaround in the middle of the racecourse.
"Everybody's together," he said. "After the turn, everybody stood up. No one wanted to lead."
2:44 | Sergio hangs on to the lead: Sergio Almeralla continues to lead. But Peter Doucet has now moved into second with one of the Codo Motus skaters in third.
Morgane Echardour still leads the women's race. Brigitte Beaurdy is second.
Two laps to go.
2:22 | Canadians in front: At the end of one lap, Sergio Almeralla (Il Peloton/Atom Wheels) leads. Stephane Trembley of Ottawa is in second. Peter Doucet is third.
The top women were tucked into the men's lead pack. Morgane Echardour was first; Dominique LaLonde, second; Brigitte Beaudry (VRL), (possibly) third.
Il Peloton skaters in green jerseys start second lap (right side of photo) as Cado Motus skaters approach turnaround. (photo: Nathalie Larouche)
2:05 | Start of marathon: And they're off. The pros go first. Two minutes later, they start the advanced skaters. The race is four up-and-back loops.
Advanced 42K start (photo: Nathalie Larouche)
1:55 | 10K Finish Photo:
James Springer is center; Aaron Warr is left with Peter Doucet rolling in behind him. (photo: Nathalie Larouche)
1:40 | Cado Motus, Speed Skate World: Cado Motus' James Springer won the 10K with teammate Aaron Warr rolling in second. Speed Skate World's Peter Doucet was third. The time was just over 16 minutes.
Speed Skate World's Morgane Echardour won the women's 10K. Synergy's Addison Shapard was second with teammate Sophia Buckaloo, third.
The 42K marathon (the official NROC event) is scheduled to start in 20 minutes.
1:12 | 10K Start:
About 30 skaters lined up for the 10K, including Speed Skate World's Peter Doucet, Cado Motus' James Springer and Aloe Up's Herb Gayle.
Cado Motus' Kelly Springer says it's a beautiful race course. Very fast.
1:05 | Delay: The start of the 10K is running a few minutes behind schedule. But in the meantime, we received word from Italy that Bont's Debbie Rice (last year's NROC champion) won today's Master Worlds Marathon. Norm Kirby was seventh in the men's race. (Here's Debbie's report.)
Race map photo (Nathalie Larouche)
12:30 | Scene: A half an hour before the start of the 10K. Skaters starting to congregate at the starting line on the Rockcliffe Parkway.
Beautiful day for racing. Sunny and about 75 degrees (F) with a little breeze.
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